Matrix Amplification to the rescue!
New kid on the block in July 2010 was Matrix Amplification who without intention solved the problem many guitar players have: how to power your digital guitar rig live.
Before Matrix, almost the entire PA Market on budget level has since the introduction of the Mackie SRM 450 been heading towards active cabinets.
It just seemed so much easier and the amount of independent sound guys still preaching that cab with separate power amp sounds better had started to sound like vinyl record enthusiast trying to convince us to ditch the iPod…
This way of thinking has found it’s way into guitar rigs as well, just look at Atomic amps, Tech 21 and I’m sure, many more brands!
The problem with power amps
The problem with power amps for guitar players are:
- Rack mounted
- More leads to connect than active cabs.
Personally I’d like to list the problems in the actual order above, the weight being the main problem, extra leads something I can deal with.
Since the Axe-Fx is rack mounted, number 2 on the problems list is actually only a good thing.
The matrix xt800, or the GT 800FX, which is basically the same thing, solves the weight problem by being less than 4 kg!
With its 2 x 400W or 800W bridged, this is loud enough next to any drummer, no matter if you run guitar cabs or FRFR.
Matrix Amplification History
Starting out designing power amps for line array systems (theaters and touring rigs use this) the xt800 was originally intended to drive the tweeters in a theater rig.
Thankfully, Spy Tunes member DADA (see comment below) who was using the Axe-Fx and seeking more power and less weight tried the matrix xt800 with the Axe Fx and found a marriage made in heaven.
After his feedback and further tweaks, Matrix quickly re branded the xt800 into a GT800 FX and voila: the perfect amp to drive your digital guitar rig!
We now had a small, light weight power amp that sounds great with the Axe-Fx.
How do Matrix do it?
So how do Matrix cram in 800, seriously punchy watts into a 1U rack space weighing less than 4 kg?
Seriously precise engineering that’s how, check this video from Matrix and then try that with your soldering iron!